It's one of the most exciting school essentials to buy: your kids' backpack. Whether they're headed to preschool with snacks and nap essentials or rocking the halls of the elementary school, they need something that's fun and functional. It's also nice if it lasts longer than a single school year. So, how to choose? Well, the best backpacks for kids are big enough to haul all of their supplies without weighing them down or making them look like an unsteady turtle.

And since there's an overwhelming amount of choices out there, here's a pro tip: Choose a few that you love, then let them pick out their favorite! (And don't forget the perfect first day of school outfit !)

From toddler backpacks that will last kids for years to the best kids backpacks for the first day of school, we've rounded up a selection that makes it easier to choose. (Maybe.😉)

puffy black backpack with wings
7AM Enfant $45

Mini Wings Backpack

Is this the coolest backpack out there? Possibly. Made from a water-repellant shell, the tot-sized carry-all might not help them move any faster (seriously, does time stop when they’re asked to put their shoes on?) but it sure looks like it could. And that’s enough for us, TBH.

peppa pig kids backpack
Hunter $70

Kids Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles Backpack

We’re totally in love with this adorable collab between Hunter X Peppa Pig! The water-resistant backpack is perfectly sized for minis (and looks fetching with the matching rain boots)!

bear shaped backpack with bee pouch
Coco Village $99.99

Little Bear Backpack and Pouch

With their European aesthetic and too-adorable-for-words designs, we can’t help but crush on all things Coco Village. But this back-to-school season, their Little Bear backpack takes the cake. Not only is it the cutest backpack + pencil case combo ever, it’s also made from durable vegan leather with a top-loading construction that makes it easy for little ones to pack and unpack. (And don’t miss the matching bee hive lunchbox!)

navy backpack
Dare to Roam $72

Mini Prodigy Backpack

They look simple, but the magic of the ethically made backpacks from Dare to Roam is in the details. The water-resistant nylon features antimicrobial technology to keep them fresh and clean despite your preschooler’s best efforts. At just 15 inches, the mini is perfect for the youngest set, but if you’re shopping for an older kiddo you may want to upgrade to the full size.

backpack with colorful starburts
West Elm $44.95

Modern Backpack

With a bright color burst design they’ll love and a durable coating that will keep it tip-top throughout the year, you can’t go wrong with this basic number. (It’s available in two sizes as well!)

pink blue and white backpack
Fjällraven $85

Kånken Art Mini

We’ve always loved the Swedish Fjällraven’s iconic Kanken backpacks for little ones. The square design fits just enough to be helpful but not too much to weigh them down and they last FOREVER. And even better, the brand has worked to further climate change initiatives since 1994 with their Arctic Fox Initiative. This year’s ocean-inspired collection, designed by Swedish artist Linn Fritz, benefits 2 Minute Foundation and Leave No Trace, working to draw awareness to the growing problem of plastics littering the oceans.

grey backpack
MCubed $34

Kids' Backpacks

Designed with the tiniest school-goers in mind, Mcubed backpacks are large enough to fit folders and essentials, but not so big they’ll overwhelm your little one. We love their simple patterns and muted colors which you don’t always find when it comes to kid backpacks. They also offer matching lunchboxes and pencil cases!

black quilted backpack
TWELVElittle $39

Little Companion Backpack

Soft, lightweight and water-resistant, this quilted backpack is perfectly sized for little scholars (and comes in a variety of colors if leopard print isn’t their thing!) Even better? It also comes in mama size for some seriously adorable (and organized) twinning.

floral printed backpack
Jansport $36

Superbreak Backpack

The “OG” of backpack brands, Jansport makes durable classic designs that can withstand the wear and tear of the school year. A front panel with a built-in organizer will keep elementary kids and middle schoolers organized, while the padded shoulder straps will keep them comfortable. The best part? The price (and a few super fun patterns)!

coral metallic backpack
State Bags $75

Mini Kane

Roomy enough to carry your child through elementary school and durable enough to last well beyond that, State Bags kiddo backpacks are a great investment. They also come in tons of awesome colors and designs and can be personalized with their initials and/or their choice of emoji-esque symbols like a rocket, banana or lightning bolt. This company was founded to help local children in need so for every bag purchased, STATE will support an American child in need in the way they need it most.

Gap $39

Kids Recycled Tie-Dye Print Senior Backpack

Made from 24 standard size water bottles, this fun tie-dye number is big enough to carry the essentials but also slim enough they won’t topple over.

red backpack
Lands' End $35.95

Kids ClassMate Medium Backpack

This classic bag is great for preschool and elementary. With padded back panels and shoulder straps, it provides optimal comfort and is water-repellent. It has reinforced stitching so it’ll hold up just fine if your little tosses it or drags it around. And, we can’t resist personalizing it with a monogram so you always know which bag is your kid’s.

llama backpack
Skip Hop $21.99

Llama Insulated Toddler Backpack

Now, who wouldn’t want a llama backpack?! We adore Skip Hop’s toddler backpack line—kiddos can pick out their favorite animal, like a unicorn, ladybug, or bee. They’re ideal for preschool, where children won’t bring a ton of folders or binders home. The insulated front pouch is the perfect spot to store snacks.

light up backpack
Herschel Supply $38.99

Heritage Backpack Kids

Perfectly sized for kids aged 3 to 4, Herschel’s smallest version of the popular Herigate backpack comes in a variety of different colorways and features a removable sternum support strap and a limited lifetime warranty. Some even include reflective fabric and a light up feature to keep kiddos extra visible on their walk home.

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